Resume Formats

Office of Career Development

Resume Formats

  1. Chronological
    This is the most common and readily accepted form of presentation. It starts with the current or most recent employment, then works backwards to your first job. While it the most common type of resume, it is NOT right for everyone.

    Use this format if 1) Your most recent education or work experience is related to your career goal; 2) your work history shows a logical progression toward your current career objective; and 3) your have a stable work history with no gaps.

  2. Functional
    This format focuses on the professional skills you have developed over the years, rather than when, where or how you acquired them. It de-emphasizes dates. The attention is always focused on the skill rather than the context or time of its acquisition. Typical functional categories include skill areas such as Administrative, Service, Supervisory, Communications, Financial, Training, Interpersonal, Sales, etc.

    Use this format if: 1) you have limited direct experience in your chosen field; 2) your skills have been acquired primarily through study; 3) your work history is inconsistent; and 4) you are changing careers.

  3. Targeted
    With this format, you adapt your resume to each industry or organization which you are targeting for employment. This format highlights your capabilities in relations to that specific industry, organization or job.

    Use this format if 1) you want the reader to focus on only your education and work experience that helped prepare you for their specific job; 2) you want to emphasize some past experience that is relevant to your career objective and 3) you’d rather de-emphasize your most recent experience which is not so relevant.

  4. Scannable
    This format prepares your resume for the eye of a computer scanner rather than a human. Many large and mid-sized organizations are beginning to use Optical Character Reader (OCR) scanners to scan all resumes and cover letters. This puts all job applicants into a database which can be sorted on key words for specific job openings. “Hits” for key words can come from any part of your correspondence. To prepare a scannable resume:
    • Less is more. Use plain text. Avoid fancy typefaces, bold, italics, underlined text, shading, graphics, type under 12pt font, and lines. White or off-white 8 ½ x11 paper scans the easiest. Don’t staple or fold.

    • Use separate lines and white space. For better scanning reading, put all addresses, phone numbers, etc. on separate lines. Use white space to separate sections.

    • Use computer-friendly language. Minimize use of abbreviations.

    • Three to four pages if fine for a scannable resume.

Sample resumes

Develop your Resume

Use our resume checklist or Optimal resume to help you create your resume.

Optimal resume
Optimal resume is a comprehensive, web-based application for students to create, present, and manage resumes to achieve maximum impact. It not only helps students build their best resume, but also saves significant time and helps create an online marketing presentation of skills and abilities.

Resume Checklist
This checklist provides an outline to help you develop a resume that will meet the minimum standard.

Articles about Online resumes

Post Your resume On-Line

Once you have a resume completed, you can post it in the CCN online system for employers to view. Get details about how to upload and publish your resume, and how to include it in a resume Book, at

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